Jake Marmer

Jake Marmer

Jake Marmer is a poet and performer. A PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, he writes about poetry and music for the Forward, and is co-editor of the Mima’amakim Art Journal. He spent the academic year 2008-2009 in Israel as a Dorot Fellow.

Jake lives in New York City with his wife Shoshana and their son Lev.

More info here: jakemarmer.wordpress.com

Tel Aviv Vignette

for Ruth Calderon

Tel Aviv shore café:
chairs lined up across the evening beach
like rows in a synagogue
but, red and purple –
two bronze teenage gods
male and female
fix up the lights
and dim them;
menus are stacked –
the gates? there are no gates!
Tonight, may the sea-worshipers
be as numerous as the grains of sand

Mountains of Eilat

the desert has said enough
& has long been on mute
except – the rustling –
things don’t crack or creak often enough
Jordanian mountains in the mist
who sat on these rocks
a thousand years ago?

Thelonious Monk in Jerusalem

the window broke so many
times and today’s fill of frost paint burns
the big lips off the transparent
gods of notation
kissing the outside,
transparent gods, of notation,
gods of the off: the window broke so many
times blue frost creasing lips

hermeneutic owl
spectacles are watching
Baatsheva’s footsteps
drying up on the royal floor
what’s the deal with this obsession
over a few footsteps
on the cracked royal floor
(cracked per cracking
of the proverbial jugs
of Isaac Luria)
under a thick blanket
thick thick blanket
Jerusalem night
with Monk on the headphones, winter
dream-sifting through
the day’s fill of Jerusalem
in Monk’s gloves my fingers
stretch out to city’s every piano
rib-cage piano and piano piano
my fingers grow huge and apocalyptic
like Monk’s
like Og the King of HaBashan’s

fistful runs up-down Noah’s windows
scraping self-righteous windows scratching let me in against
the flood-rain staccato grief riff
let me in against the broke how many let me
scraping the frost paint, painting dream-frost paint
on those hermeneutic owl glasses
in this slowly sinking world


Forefather Into

(Sketches over Zohar)

who’d think going
would involve this much sitting

two am desert fugue-bop sessions
with our five big mouths sticking out of the sand, breathing in
through the horns, stuffed crooked noses punctuating the eighths,
our bodies, communally petrified, now uninteresting with

so much potential vomit, vomit inside,
every song is soaked in it and

everything that corresponded perfectly
broke down here, at the edge of the center of the world


where I begun selling the off-balance as holiness door-to-door

rain over steel
drum, shkhinah’s melodious patterns of rejection


my parents are dead to me

when the sandal got slammed in the door, couldn’t deal
and now I just don’t have doors

the wife’s too beautiful for comfort

sky says: you are the definition of love,
the world didn’t know what love was until you came around

now   un-bury the creation, let it eat   your shovel

Poetry in this post: © Jake Marmer
Published with the permission of Jake Marmer